And now for something completely different…

August 21, 2007 at 3:30 pm (Mind/body)

doritos-10206.jpg I was going to call this entry “Fitness and Health,” but then I thought, people will think they’ve landed on the wrong blog. Fitness and Health??!! This, from a person whose favorite food group was – and actually still is – Doritos Nacho Flavored Tortilla Chips (though alas, I can now only admire them from afar)? A person whose idea of exercise has always been turning the pages of a really good book? Is is possible?

tolstoy.jpg golean.jpg Well, yes it is. The metamorphosis began seven years ago with my being diagnosed with Type II Diabetes and being told, among other things, that the illness could lead to blindness. Oh, great – I, who read so compulsively and relentlessly, everything from War and Peace to cereal box copy, bereft of sight! I was advised to make two major changes in my life: stop the junk food, start the exercise. At first, I was not sure I could do either, never mind both. I had eschewed, my whole life long, any form of exercise more rigorous than reaching for a bag of potato chips. Not only was I averse to it – I was contemptuous of it, I am now ashamed to admit. Give me the life of the mind any day over all that sweating and grunting!

Ah, well, that same life has much to teach us. To make a long story short, I tentatively dipped my (chubby) toes in the waters of fitness and found…joy! Yes! Once I stopped feeling like a clumsy idiot – and stopped caring if I looked like a clumsy idiot – I began enjoying myself hugely. I prefer the classes to the solitary workouts. In the classes, the energy of the group becomes a shared phenomenon – the synergy of energy, if you will. And the instructors! They have been a revelation. I had no idea the degree to which the individual personalities of the leaders affected the ambiance of the class. Utter snob that I was, I thought of these folks as automatons, merely beating time and shouting out orders. Boy was I wrong! Their enthusiasm, their preferences for certain moves and routines, their choice of music -all is highly individual, even idiosyncratic, and almost invariably interesting and fun. And I really must say a little more about the music. I worship at the shrine of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and all the rest. I particularly venerate Tchaikovsky and Mahler; I can barely listen to their powerhouse symphonies without weeping. But yes, this is the same person who moves to the beat of ABBA and ZZ Top, among others. Who would have though that “Sharp Dressed Man” would be such a great dance tune!

aerobics_class_lg.jpg I am always one who is in advance of every trend: just as the fitness world was moving on from aerobics, I discovered it. And now I would follow it anywhere! One of the great revelations for me about this type of workout routine is the degree to which takes over your mental processes. Let your mind wander even for a few seconds and you’ll find yourself about to collide with an unsuspecting fellow group member. It has happened!! You must Listen Carefully and Do What the Teacher Tells You. Is it like being back in grade school? Yes! And how refreshing, what a relief from the cares of the moment. Just tell me to do a double grapevine with a half turn in the middle and I’ll do it – gladly, and many times over!

I could go on, but you’ve probably gotten my drift. Besides, I have to leave for Total Conditioning soon. But before I go, I want to express my gratitude to the instructors at The Athletic Club and Supreme Sports. You’ve saved me in more ways than one, and have undoubtedly done the same for others as well. Thank you, THANK YOU!

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